Jelliff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Jelliff goes back 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. Soon after this event, the name would have been given to a happy and lively person. The surname of Jolliffe was originally derived from the Old French word joli, of the same meaning. [1]

The name is derived from the "Old English, jolif, French joli, which Cotgrave defines as 'jollie, gay, trim, fine, gallant, neat, handsome, well-fashioned-also livelie, merrie, buxome, jocund.' " [2]

Early Origins of the Jelliff family

The surname Jelliff was first found in Staffordshire where they were an ancient family granted lands by William the Conqueror, and "allied to some of the chief nobles of the Kingdom." A northern branch enjoyed power and affluence in Europe before the Norman Conquest, and were originally known as Jolli. This spelling changed with the years to Jollye, to Jolliff, and finally to Jolliffe.

One of the first records of the family was John Jolif who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls for Huntingdonshire in 1219. [3]

"In 1295 William Jolyf was bailsman for the M.P. for Thirsk, and 1305 Robert Jolyf for the M.P. for Arundel." [4]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Robertus Jolf and Alicia Jolyff as holding lands there at that time. [5]

Early History of the Jelliff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jelliff research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1824, 1573, 1523, 1524, 1527, 1554, 1554, 1555, 1555, 1613, 1680, 1660, 1679, 1660, 1750, 1734, 1741, 1697, 1771, 1621, 1658, 1621, 1637, 1640, 1643 and 1643 are included under the topic Early Jelliff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jelliff Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Jelliff has been recorded under many different variations, including Jolliffe, Jolli, Jolliff and others.

Early Notables of the Jelliff family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Joliffe (d. 1573), Dean of Bristol, educated at the university of Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1523-1524, and M.A. in 1527. On 9 Sept. 1554 Joliffe was installed Dean of Bristol. He was present at the sitting of the commissioners on 24 Jan. 1554-1555 when sentence of excommunication and judgment ecclesiastical was pronounced against Hooper and Rogers; and he attended Archbishop Cranmer's second trial at Oxford in September 1555. On the accession of Elizabeth he was deprived of all his ecclesiastical preferments. He escaped to the continent, and settled at Louvain...
Another 142 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jelliff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Jelliff migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Jelliffs were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Jelliff Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Robert Jelliff, who arrived in America in 1919
  • Ida Jelliff, who arrived in America settling in Neward, N. J. in 1914
  • J.E. Jelliff, who arrived in America in 1914
  • Marjorie Lilian Jelliff, who arrived in America from Paris, France in 1919
  • Mathilde Jelliff, who arrived in America from London, England in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Jelliff (post 1700) +

  • F. R. Jelliff, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1904 [6]
  • Lincoln Henry Jelliff (1865-1962), American-born, Canadian farmer, insurance advisor, lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, Alberta from 1921 to 1930


The Jelliff Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Tant que je puis
Motto Translation: As much as I can.


  1. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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